Deacon Bill Gallerizzo - St. Pius X Catholic Church - South Yarmouth, MA Homily and scriptures for 12 July, 2016 Tuesday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 390 Reading 1 In the days of Ahaz, king of Judah, son of Jotham, son of Uzziah, Rezin, king of Aram, and Pekah, king of Israel, son of Remaliah, went up to attack Jerusalem, but they were not able to conquer it. When word came to the house of David that Aram was encamped in Ephraim, the heart of the king and the heart of the people trembled, as the trees of the forest tremble in the wind. Then the LORD said to Isaiah: Go out to meet Ahaz, you and your son Shear-jashub, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool, on the highway of the fuller’s field, and say to him: Take care you remain tranquil and do not fear; let not your courage fail before these two stumps of smoldering brands the blazing anger of Rezin and the Arameans, and of the son Remaliah, because of the mischief that Aram, Ephraim and the son of Remaliah, plots against you, saying, “Let us go up and tear Judah asunder, make it our own by force, and appoint the son of Tabeel king there.” Thus says the LORD: This shall not stand, it shall not be! Damascus is the capital of Aram, and Rezin is the head of Damascus; Samaria is the capital of Ephraim, and Remaliah’s son the head of Samaria. But within sixty years and five, Ephraim shall be crushed, no longer a nation. Unless your faith is firm you shall not be firm! Responsorial Psalm R. (see 9d) God upholds his city for ever. Great is the LORD and wholly to be praised in the city of our God. His holy mountain, fairest of heights, is the joy of all the earth. R. God upholds his city for ever. Mount Zion, “the recesses of the North,” is the city of the great King. God is with her castles; renowned is he as a stronghold. R. God upholds his city for ever. For lo! the kings assemble, they come on together; They also see, and at once are stunned, terrified, routed. R. God upholds his city for ever. Quaking seizes them there; anguish, like a woman’s in labor, As though a wind from the east were shattering ships of Tarshish. R. God upholds his city for ever. Alleluia R. Alleluia, alleluia. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts. R. Alleluia, alleluia. Gospel Jesus began to reproach the towns where most of his mighty deeds had been done, since they had not repented. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would long ago have repented in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. And as for you, Capernaum: Will you be exalted to heaven? You will go down to the nether world. For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.” Homily - Deacon Bill Gallerizzo - Tuesday of the 15th Week of OT A little over a week ago, we lost a great man from our midst. Elie Wiesel, holocaust survivor passed away. He spent much of his life standing up for what is right, emphasizing that giving in to cheap rhetoric of violence and hatred leads only to more violence and hatred. I met him many years ago during my diaconate formation at a presentation he gave at my school. I had wanted to read his books, but could not seem to find the time. I have to confess that since ordination I've only read one of his books cover to cover. But I found it riveting and true to the man I met in his presentation. The book I chose to read is titled "Messengers of God: Biblical Portraits and Legends." The book, as its author is Jewish, goes into an analysis of some key figures in The Old Testament who are precursory to the coming of Christ. Kings, Judges, and everyday people who showed heroism of faith in the face of difficult circumstances. What and how we decide to act can make a critical difference in our lives and the lives of others. In his lifelong work, he addressed the evil of complacency and failure to act. In today's Gospel, Jesus brings this home too well. To answer God's call to respond in goodness is an immediate call, not something we can put off in our lives for a convenient moment. We cannot afford to be complacent about God and the role He asks us to play in this life. It is to be part of our everyday existence to love God and to love all others as we love ourselves, to know the good and to reject the bad first in ourselves, and to respond proactively and positively toward others: those who do not know Christ; those who have less advantage than we have; those who cannot see good in others in spite of the advantages God has given them; those who denigrate the dignity of all others as children of God. They all deserve from us a response toward the good. That does not mean tolerance for evil actions, but it does mean that we are God's mechanism for making the world a better place. Our actions, as St Teresa, the Little Flower said, though seemingly small and insignificant, can have great impact and bear much fruit. What I found brought full circle to what I had studied in my Old Testament classes and brought it home the teachings of Christ in the New Testament. The world is full of imperfect people, but we are called to strive for perfection in following God. We are called upon to act as Christ would act, and we do so without perfection, but still, the Father wants us to make the effort and give it the best we can. It is the responsibility of all God's people to stand for what God stands for, even in the face of evil. Coinciding well with the teachings of Christ, Wiesel reflects on God’s call to us that we must respond to evil with good if we are to overcome it. That means being proactive, not reactive. That means seeing evil for what it is and countering with good before it can develop and become uncontrollable. It all comes down to how and when we act. Every moment, in every person we encounter, we have a crossroads with at least two directions: we can follow Christ or kowtow to the world. Like being in traffic jams, we can follow blindly, or we can step out, and change our course of direction to make viable progress toward God's goodness. Yes there can be conflict, particularly from those who want to spread around fear and misery. But in following Christ we strive toward the perfection of God. We will never reach the perfect level, whatever that is. Only Christ is the perfect person. Christ is our model for which we are to continue to strive, and like Christ, we cannot be complacent.